Fearlessness, the story of Lisa Anderson

The Virginia farm girl comes full circle. Of the many starts and stops in this colorful life of pro surfings’ most dynamic female, her return to Huntington Beach opens up a new chapter for Lisa Anderson. When you live in a town called “surf city”, you don’t have to travel too far to see your surf icons. All my heroes have stopped by at one time or another. It also helps, that the biggest surf contest in the world (the US Open of Surfing) happens annually in my backyard. What a treat to ride my bike along Main St., in front of Huntington Surf & Sport, and see Lisa Anderson at her “fearlessness” book-signing, last December 15, 2007.

Born March 8, 1969, a few years my senior, Lisa Anderson, always seemed worlds ahead me and moving a million miles an hour. She always seemed to have her act together, pushing forward and breaking numerous ground for women’s professional surfing. I was always in awe of her talent, but never knew much about her. The Feb’ 96, Surfer Photo Annual wherein Lisa graced the cover with the words ... Lisa Anderson surfs better than you” is my all-time favorite. Many guys of the era, and even today secretly wish they were blessed with half the talent. Poll any male surfer and the truth would be, that they either loved her for everything beautiful about her, or hated her because she actually did surf better than most. (HAHA) Lisa’s influence and aggressive surfing style put a face to women’s surfing and the ROXY brand of clothing, helping to develop truly female surf fashion.

Fearlessness” holds nothing back and lets you into the life of Lisa, where only a select few were ever invited. Nick Carroll does a fantastic job of allowing you inside Lisa's life to learn what really went on behind the scenes. It’s well written and streams smoothly. I read it in a few days time and applaud Lisa's courage and honesty to relay her life experiences in a way to make us all realize that despite her superhuman surfing ability, she is just like one of us. A young girl with the hope and fearless determination to fulfill her passions, despite any obstacle. A truly fine example of living out your dreams.

“ ‘Lisa takes big steps’, she says seriously. ‘she takes real big steps. She's very brave ... she works at relationships, but she’ll walk away if she has to.

‘It's a natural thing for her now, going to Huntington. She’s gone back to where she’s first started.’ “ -Nicole (Lisa's childhood friend, fearlessness)

Thankfully for us, were glad to welcome her back home to Huntington Beach. As lisa states in her preface, "Funnily enough, I chose to move back to Huntington Beach, California. this time it wasn't running away."

It was uplifting, to finally meet and talk with one of my all time favorite surfers. After she signed my book, I read the preface that Lisa had written, and i'll share with you her final comment... "I have new dreams now -not about winning world titles but about giving my kids everything I can. and of course, the one in which I find great love that lasts forever. In that quote alone, it foreshadowed her realness and sincere disclosure. I couldn't wait to finish the book.

I stopped and took the time to ask Lisa a few questions. I feel I know a little more about her, especially after reading her book. Although, Lisa is no longer competing and I missed the chance to shoot her during those times, I entertained the opportunity to shoot her freesurfing in the near future. If we ever do luck up on an exotic surf trip, i’d be confined to follow the old rule of surf journalism, as taught to me by my friend and venerable surf photog veteran, Erik Aeder... “Show, but don’t tell... Let secret spots stay secret."

MD: What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro surfer or involved with the surf industry?

LA: “I would definitely be a parent because i love kids, probably have more than 2 kids by now. But if i weren’t a surfer, I’d probably be a pro snowboarder. I love the snow and the mountains. I always loved doing something active, so somehow the energy would have come out in some way or another.”

MD: Would you care to share any good or bad experiences with regard to surfing?

LA: “Surfing has always been a positive thing for me. Whether there were times when i neglected my surfing, It was always knockin’ on my door, telling me to get out there and get back in the water. Surfing always left me feeling satisfied, rejuvenated and fresh. It’s always been there for me and there really hasn’t been any negative experiences...”

all words/images ©2008 Mark Dimalanta Photography